|(From top) Sujapur Congress MLA Abu Naser Khan Choudhury, Malda South MP, Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, President Pranab Mukherjee, governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and the Congress Baisnabnagar MLA Isha Khan Choudhury, who is Abu Hasem’s son, at Kotwali on Friday; Congress Malda North MP Mausam Noor was neither at the dining table nor on the dais with the President in Malda; the invitation card for the inauguration of the Ghani Khan Choudhury Institute of Engineering and Technology that mentioned that governor Tripathi and Union HRD minister Smriti Irani were invitees. Irani was not present at the event. Pictures by Surajit Roy
Malda, Aug. 1: Malda North MP Mausam Noor today alleged that she was not invited to the President’s inauguration of the Ghani Khan Choudhury Institute of Engineering and Technology, though the college was in her constituency.
Mausam, who was in Calcutta, said her name was not included in the invitation card.
“The Narayanpur area in Old Malda is in my constituency. The institute is named after my late uncle. I was not even invited to the President’s programme. The institute is under the Union human resource development ministry. Then why should I, being a Lok Sabha member, be ignored? I will pose this question to Union minister Smriti Irani. I hold the organisers of today’s programme responsible for leaving me out,” she said.
The chairman of the institute’s governing body is Abu Naser Khan Choudhury, the uncle with whom Mausam has testy ties after he protested her elevation as the district Congress chief.
Mausam, though, did not mention any of the uncles by name while venting her ire.
Both her uncles — Abu Hasem and Abu Naser — said the niece had been invited.
“I had invited her (Mausam) to today’s programme and had also spoken to her over phone. I fail to understand why she chose to stay in Calcutta. I am not responsible for Mausam’s name not being printed in the invitation card. That was finalised by the human resource development ministry and Rashtrapati Bhavan. Only the President’s and the governor’s names were on the card,” Abu Naser told journalists soon after Pranab Mukherjee left their Kotwali residence.
The invitation card also included Irani’s name but she was not present at the event.
According to Abu Naser, the names of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, state education minister Partha Chatterjee and the two MPs from Malda were sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“We had sent the names for the seating arrangement on the dais. There was a chair for Mausam that was removed by the SPG before the programme started,” he said.
President Mukherjee arrived at Narayanpur by a helicopter. He inaugurated the academic building of the central institute, visited Kotwali and had a vegetarian lunch with the family.
“Friend Barkat (the late A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury) had the dream. He knew that things couldn’t improve just by creating jobs for the youth. He wanted a centre of excellence to come up in Malda. His dream has been fulfilled. This institute will be a great asset not only for Malda and the rest of Bengal but for other states as well,” Mukherjee said in his 14-minute speech. After that he left for Kotwali in a car. Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi accompanied him.
Abu Hasem, Mausam’s other uncle, lost his cool when asked the reason for Mausam’s absence.
“All this is the creation of the media. Mausam did not inform us that she was not coming. You reporters are always creating controversy. I had personally spoken to Mausam and there was a chair for her on the dais today. It would have been good for us had she been present,” he said.
Abu Naser, Abu Hasem, Englishbazar MLA and state minister for food processing Krishnendu Choudhury (as the chief minister’s representative) were on the dais along with the President and the governor.
This is not the first time that a possible rift in Kotwali has come into fore.
In December last year, Abu Naser had said he would switch to Trinamul and had refused to work under a “junior politician” like Mausam after she was made the Malda district Congress chief.
“I won’t be in the Congress if I have to work under my niece because this is insulting for a senior person like me in my home district,” he had said.
Today, Abu Naser said the family was very happy to host the President.
“We had been told that the President would stay for only 15 minutes. But he was with us for nearly half-an-hour and had a light vegetarian lunch along with the governor. Both had green coconut water. They also had rice, mung dal, mochar ghanta, doi potol, shukto and fruit salad,” he said.